Golf Ball Flight Paths

ball-flights


Straight

straightA golf ball hit straight will travel directly in line with the target, from the moment it is struck all the way to the moment when it lands. A perfectly straight shot will not veer sideways at all and the amount of roll upon landing will be determined by the club selected. For example, a ball hit with a 9-iron will roll less than one hit with a 3-iron.

Good: Such a ball flight is deemed to be desirable because the ball will land near the intended target.


Draw

drawA golf ball that draws will begin to travel outside of the target line before coming back towards the target.  Thanks to the topspin generated balls that travel along that flight path tend to roll a little more upon landing than one hit straight.

Good: Although it veers off course in the beginning, a draw is deemed to be desirable because the ball will land near the intended target in the end.

Opposite: The opposite of a draw is a fade.

Power Draw

Traveling along an aggressive outside-in flight path, the power draw’s shape will resemble that of a hook with the important difference that it will land near the intended target. As such, it is still deemed to be desirable when executed on purpose, in order to clear troublesome areas, for example.


Fade

fadeA golf ball that fades will begin to travel inside of the target line before coming back towards the target. Thanks to the backspin generated balls that travel along that flight path tend to roll less upon landing than one hit straight.

Good: Such a ball flight is deemed to be desirable because the ball will eventually land near the intended target.

Opposite: The opposite of a fade is a draw.

Cut

People often use the term cut interchangeably with the term fade. Although closely related, the difference lies in that cutting – to cut – is the process by which one can fade the ball – or send the ball on a fade flight path.

Power Fade

A power fade is hit on purpose – usually from the tee box – in order to have the ball travel on an aggressive left to right trajectory, for right handed golfers. It is normally used on dog leg right holes or simply to avoid trouble on the left side. Because the ball will land near the intended target it is not considered a missed shot, provided it was executed on purpose.


Pull

pullA pulled shot is one where the ball is hit in a straight line – with no side spin – but to the inside of the target, i.e., left of the target for right handed golfers. Upon landing the ball will roll as it would if it was hit straight.

Mediocre: A pulled ball is deemed undesirable because the ball will miss the intended target, landing left of it instead.

Opposite: The opposite of a pull is a push.

More on: How to Fix a Pull


Push

pushA pushed shot is one where the ball will travel in a straight line – with no side spin – but will remain to the outside of the target, i.e., right of the target for right handed golfers. Upon landing the ball will roll as it would if it was hit straight.

Mediocre: A pushed shot is deemed undesirable because the ball will miss the intended target, landing right of it instead.

Opposite: The opposite of a push is a pull.

More on: How to Fix a Push


Hook

hookA ball that travels along a hook flight path is one that will start to the outside of the target line before curling aggressively towards the target and passing it before finally coming to rest to the left of it. Balls hit in such a way will carry a lot of topspin and as a result will roll a considerable distance after landing before coming to rest.

Bad: Hooks are considered bad shots because contrary to draws – which also go from right to left – balls hit with a hook will miss the intended target.

Opposite: The opposite of a hook is a slice.

More on: How to Fix a Hook

Duck Hook | Snap Hook

A duck hook, or a snap hook, will occur when the golf ball will curl very aggressively to the left (for right handed golfers) over a very short distance and on a low altitude. These terms are associated with particularly punishing golf shots since the ball will usually come to rest in crippling situations.


Slice

sliceA ball that travels along a slice flight path will see it begin inside of the target line before curling aggressively towards the target line but crossing it until finally coming to rest way right of the target. Balls hit in such a way will carry less topspin than hooked shot and as a result will roll a shorter distance upon landing.

Bad: Slices are considered bad shots because the ball will come to rest outside of the target area, unlike a fade, which also travels from left to right but finds the target area in the end.

Opposite: The opposite of a slice is a hook, which will see the ball start on the outside of the target line but will end up inside of it after curling aggressively left (for right handed golfers).

More on: How to Fix a Slice


Pull Hook

pull-hookA ball that travels along a pulled hook flight path will start to the inside of the target line and will proceed with curling aggressively to the inside still, before coming to rest way left of the target (for right handed golfers).

Terrible: Pulled hooks are considered terrible shots. Not only do they start off target but they curl aggressively away from that target still. As a result, golf balls that pull hook end up very far from the intended target landing area.

Opposite: The opposite of a pull hook is a push slice.

More on: How to Fix a Pull Hook


Push Slice

push-sliceA ball that travels along a push slice flight path will start to the outside of the target line and will proceed to curling aggressively to the outside still, before coming to rest way right of the target (for right handed golfers).

Terrible: Pushed slices are considered terrible shots. Not only do they start off target but they curl aggressively away from the target still. As a result, ball hit that way end up quite some distance from the intended landing area, often in crippling situations.

Opposite: The opposite of a push slice is a pull hook.

More on: How to Fix a Push Slice


Punch Shot

long-game-punchA punch shot is one where the elevation of the ball is kept lower than usual for any given club. A golfer will hit a punch shot when he’ll want the ball to stay underneath obstacles such as tree branches and leaves or to lessen the impact of strong winds, for example.

Good: Granted that they are executed on purpose punch shots are considered desirable in some instances where the ball elevation needs to indeed remain low.


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